Google Calendar Review: Features, Pricing, & Alternatives

Our Verdict

Discover the latest insights on using Google Calendar for your appointment scheduling needs. Explore its features, use cases, and pricing details in our review.

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Google Calendar Google Calendar
Software Type: Online calendar
Best For: Ideal for professionals, small teams/businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneurs on a budget/looking for value for money.
Pricing: Free - $18/mo
Pros:
  • Free to use
  • Seamless integration with G-Suite
  • Easy and responsive design
  • Mobile app available
Cons:
  • Lacks advanced features
  • Only available to Google users

Are you ready to streamline your schedule and master time management effortlessly? Dive into our comprehensive review of Google Calendar, the go-to digital scheduling solution in 2024. 

From its intuitive features to its flexible applications across various tasks, we’re here to uncover everything you need to know.

Have you ever wondered how this app can transform your daily routine? Curious about its latest updates and pricing structure (and whether it has one)? 

Join us as we navigate through the realm of Google Calendar, addressing your queries and guiding you toward an informed decision to supercharge your productivity.

SMB Guide’s Verdict for Google Calendar

Based on this comprehensive analysis, I rate Google Calendar an 8 out of 10 rating.

This ranking has been done, keeping in mind that Google Calendar isn’t your typical appointment scheduler but a great workaround for those small businesses on a budget.

Here’s the detailed breakdown of the scoring for each factor:

FactorRating (out of 10)
Pricing & Plans7
Appointment Workflow Automation8
Customization Options8
Calendar Management Features9
Automated Reminders and Notifications7.5
Client Management and Communication6.5
User Interface and User Experience10
Integrations, Compatibility & Supported Platforms10
Customer Support6.5
SMB Guide Rating8

Pricing & Plans

Google Calendar operates on a free model for individual users, aligning with the typical approach of many Google applications.

The free tier offers an extensive range of functionalities that satisfy the everyday needs of most users, making upgrades primarily oriented toward business users as part of Google’s comprehensive G-Suite program.

The limitations on the free tier predominantly affect features relevant to collaborative calendar sharing.

For instance, in the free version, sharing a calendar is limited to read-only access, whereas business accounts within G-Suite enable multiple users to edit calendars.

However, for most individual users’ regular usage, the free version generally suffices without necessitating an upgrade.

It’s essential to note that the paid plans are not specific to Google Calendar alone but encompass G-Suite, which caters to broader business needs within the Google ecosystem.

Free

Google Calendar’s free plan is universally available to all Google users and the most opted for. 

Price

  • Free to use 

Features

  • Share your calendar
  • Arrange and confirm meetings
  • Set reminders
  • Create individual calendars
  • Enable working hours
  • Use calendar sync
  • Create daily agendas
  • Get notifications
  • Use for task scheduling
  • Google Calendar Chrome extension and mobile app available 

Who it’s for: All small business users and professionals looking for a free tool.

Paid Plans

The paid plans for Google Workspace unlock one key feature that the Free Plan lacks: a shareable online calendar.

Google Workspace plans

With this feature, you can share a calendar with edit-access to team members and potential clients.

Price

  • Business Starter: $6/per user/per month 
  • Business Standard: $12/per user/per month
  • Business Plus: $18/per user/per month
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing

Features (All Paid Plans unlock the following)

  • Shareable calendars
  • Schedule meetings and book rooms
  • Time Insights and reporting
  • Appointment Schedules and booking pages
  • RSVP options
  • Working locations 
  • Working hours

Who it’s for: Larger enterprises/businesses looking to take advantage of advanced features and a customized booking page.

Appointment Workflow Automation

Google Calendar, while primarily serving as a general calendar tool, offers some functionalities that can aid in streamlining the appointment booking process.

While it may not have all the robust automation features found in dedicated scheduling software, certain elements within Google Calendar assist in organizing and managing appointments efficiently.

One notable capability is the ability to create recurring meetings. This feature enables users to set up regular appointments that occur at specified intervals, eliminating the need to manually input repetitive events.

Google Calendar recurring meetings

Another aspect is the option for clients to directly book appointments based on the availability displayed on the user’s calendar.

Users can share their calendar availability, allowing clients to view open time slots and select a suitable meeting time without the need for extensive back-and-forth communication.

Google Calendar also recently introduced the Appointment Schedule feature under the paid plans, aimed at simplifying the booking process (and rivaling Calendly.)

Google Calendar appointment scheduling

This feature is available for personal account users, allowing them to create a dedicated booking page to receive appointments.

The basic functionality of creating a single booking page with unlimited appointments is available for free. However, more advanced features may require a subscription to Google Workspace or Google One.

Google Calendar appointment settings

Moreover, within the Week view or any Day view, users can create or add availability to an appointment schedule directly from their calendar interface.

By clicking on a specific time slot and selecting the “Appointment schedule” option, users can configure new appointments that appear seamlessly within their primary calendar view.

This enables users to manage their schedules and appointment bookings efficiently within the familiar Google Calendar environment.

Customization Options

Google Calendar offers some customization abilities to enhance scheduling experiences, although its free plan limitations restrict certain advanced features such as Appointment Schedule to paid subscriptions. 

Within the free tier, users can modify the calendar’s appearance by choosing between Modern and Classic color sets and toggling between Compact and Responsive modes.

Google Calendar color schemes

In Compact mode, the calendar displays narrower borders and spaces, optimizing screen real estate. Responsive mode adapts event density based on screen size, ensuring a more user-friendly display.

For users with paid plans featuring the Appointment Schedule tool, a broader array of customization options becomes available.

These include the ability to:

  • set start and end dates for appointment schedules
  • adjust specific dates’s availability
  • introduce buffer times between appointments
  • establish a maximum number of appointments allowed within a given timeframe

Additionally, users can cross-reference availability across multiple calendars to prevent double bookings, thereby streamlining scheduling processes and avoiding conflicts.

Management Features

Google Calendar has many calendar management capabilities beneficial for organizing schedules and resources across multiple staff members. 

Google Calendar simplifies scheduling across time zones by automatically converting meeting times. When setting up events with attendees in different time zones, the software ensures that everyone sees the scheduled time adjusted according to their respective time zone.

Google Calendar time zone settings

This feature prevents confusion and ensures accurate scheduling without manual adjustments. You also have the option to set up different start and end time zones. 

Users can easily modify appointments by canceling or rescheduling events directly from Google Calendar. The RSVP option allows for seamless adjustments, ensuring that all involved parties are informed about any changes.

This feature streamlines the process of adapting schedules without causing inconvenience. However, the benefits are taken up a notch with the paid plan.

Administrators using paid plans have access to group calendars, facilitating effective collaboration and communication within organizations.

These calendars can serve various purposes, such as managing company-wide meetings, tracking holidays, or scheduling team events.

Group calendars streamline coordination among team members and enhance organizational efficiency.

Google Calendar overlay multiple calendars

Google Calendar’s premium paid plans also offer the ability to overlay multiple calendars into a single view.

This functionality enables users to see events from different calendars simultaneously, providing a comprehensive overview of schedules, and saving time to efficiently manage appointments across various calendars in one interface.

Automated Reminders and Notifications

Google Calendar provides users with distinct functionalities for reminders and notifications.

Google Calendar notification settings

Reminders serve as alarms triggered before an event, while notifications inform users about changes to events in their calendars.

Users can set reminders for entire calendars or individual events. Default reminders, applied to all events within a calendar, can be established.

However, users have the flexibility to override these defaults for specific events and create a different set of reminders.

Reminders are customizable based on specific needs and event requirements.

Whereas with notifications, Google Calendar offers various types including:

  • Event Creation: Notifies when a new event is added to the user’s calendars.
  • Event Change: Informs about modifications made by the event organizer to an invited event.
  • Event Cancellation: Alerts about cancellations of events the user was invited to.
  • Attendee Response: Notifies when an attendee to an event created by the user changes their response status.
  • Agenda: Provides a list of all scheduled events in the user’s calendar at the beginning of the day.

Users have control over notification settings per calendar and the preferred delivery method for each notification type.

These settings are private and accessible, ensuring customized and tailored notification preferences for individual users.

Client Management and Communication

Google Calendar offers limited features for managing client information within the application.

Google Calendar sms reminders

Here’s a quick assessment of its features:

Client Management

Google Calendar unfortunately doesn’t provide a specific client/contact database. Users can’t maintain comprehensive contact details, appointment histories, or notes within the application.

While there’s no consolidated list displaying meetings with a particular client/user, users can scroll through their calendar to view past events and their history.

Communication Features

  • SMS notifications for meetings were discontinued in 2019, but users can explore paid apps from the Workspace marketplace for this functionality.
  • Email notifications are generally sent out when a meeting is initially registered. However, users have control over their own notification settings to customize reminders.
  • The platform lacks dedicated in-app messaging features for direct communication between businesses and their clients/users.

As Google Calendar doesn’t offer a comprehensive client management system or direct communication tools within the application, it’s a notable drawback.

Users must rely on external platforms or manual tracking to manage client information and communications efficiently.

User Interface and User Experience

Google Calendar offers a very straightforward and user-friendly interface with a clean design, contributing to an intuitive user experience.

Google Calendar interface

With regards to the UI, the interface is well-organized with a simple layout that enables easy navigation. Users can effortlessly switch between day, week, month, or year views to suit their preferences.

The color-coded system for events enhances visibility and organization, allowing users to categorize and distinguish different types of events swiftly.

Overall, the design’s simplicity facilitates users to have a quick grasp of all its main functions without overwhelming them. 

Users have limited customization options in the free version, such as choosing between different color sets and view modes (Compact and Responsive).

A notable drawback is that the platform lacks extensive personalization features in the free plan, but premium plans offer additional customization capabilities, such as setting appointment schedules and adjusting availability settings.

The good news is that onboarding is seamless and requires minimal effort, particularly for individuals familiar with other Google Workspace applications.

Google Calendar’s user-friendly nature makes it easy for new users to adapt quickly.

Integrations, Compatibility, & Supported Platforms

Google Calendar seamlessly integrates with various popular productivity tools and platforms like Google Meet, Gmail, and Google Drive.

These integrations enhance collaboration and streamline scheduling processes within the Google ecosystem.

Its APIs and pre-built integrations with third-party applications are limited in the free version but expand significantly with premium Google Workspace plans.

These allow for more extensive connectivity with diverse business software. Google Calendar also offers web-based access across different operating systems like Windows, macOS, and Linux through supported web browsers.

The browser-based platform ensures accessibility and ease of use regardless of the operating system. It’s also available on both iOS and Android platforms, facilitating on-the-go scheduling and management.

Customer Support

Google Calendar primarily relies on self-help resources and documentation rather than direct customer support.

Google Calendar help

The support team’s responsiveness might vary as direct support channels like live chat or phone assistance are not typically available for Google Calendar.

Users may find support via Google Workspace help centers or Google’s general support resources. These channels provide documentation, FAQs, and user guides that can address common queries and offer solutions.

Additionally, community forums and discussion boards might offer insights into common issues and solutions shared by other users, providing an additional resource for troubleshooting.

Google Calendar — Unique Features

Though Google Calendar isn’t your typical go-to for appointment scheduling, it does offer these unique features that are worth knowing about.

Time Insights and Reporting

Google Calendar’s Time Insights feature provides valuable analytics, allowing users to analyze and understand how they allocate their time.

Google Calendar time insights

This feature offers insights into time utilization, revealing patterns about where time is spent and with whom. 

By visualizing how time is distributed among various activities and meetings, users can optimize their schedules more effectively. 

This analytics tool is particularly beneficial for professionals aiming to improve time management, enhance productivity, and prioritize tasks efficiently.

Working Locations

Google Calendar’s Working Locations feature allows users to specify and share their current work location with colleagues.

Google Calendar working locations

This feature is particularly handy for remote or hybrid work environments where team members might be working from various locations. 

By indicating their working location within the calendar, users can inform their colleagues where they’ll be working from on specific days, facilitating better collaboration and coordination among team members.

What the Experts Say About Google Calendar

Google Calendar has strong reviews across many sites: 

  • SoftwareAdvice rates it 4.8/5 from 3,000+ reviews
  • GetApp rates it 4.8/5 from 3,000+ reviews 
  • Trust Radius rates it 9.1/10 from 250 reviews

One user calls it the “universal calendar standard.”

Google Calendar software advice review

Another anonymous user speaks highly of “its seamless integration with the Google ecosystem and cross-platform accessibility. Its user-friendly interface and color-coded events make scheduling real simple, while real-time syncing and sharing features promote effective collaboration and organization, regardless of location or device. It’s a one-stop hub for all scheduling needs.”

Google Calendar Alternatives

If you’re looking for a software with more focussed appointment scheduling features, here are three worth giving a try.

 
 
 
4.0
4.5
4.5
Free - $29
Free - $12/mo
Free - $20/mo
4.0
Free - $29
4.5
Free - $12/mo
4.5
Free - $20/mo

TidyCal

TidyCal homepage

TidyCal emerges as a fresh and sleek tool designed for the swift creation of booking pages. Seamlessly syncing with your Google or Microsoft calendar, it facilitates the crafting of appealing booking pages that align with your brand—completely free of charge.

The platform boasts distinct features like creating multiple booking links for varied purposes, incorporating custom questions and fields into your booking forms, and syncing bookings with other applications via Zapier.

TidyCal presents a robust free plan offering more features, and additionally, you can acquire the app with a one-time payment of $29, unlocking unlimited bookings and calendars.

Start your journey with TidyCal.

YouCanBook.me

youcanbookme homepage

YouCanBook.me is an efficient online scheduling solution designed to streamline client bookings within a unified calendar system for businesses.

Packed with various features like appointment reminders, online payment processing, automated scheduling, group scheduling, customizable branding, and intuitive online time zone detection, it offers comprehensive functionality.

Apart from its appointment scheduling capabilities, YouCanBook.me provides lead-capturing features and a detailed user guide for enhanced usability.

The tool provides both free and paid plans, with the paid option priced at $10.80 per calendar/month, and is ideally suited for sales, recruitment, and educational teams, 

Explore YouCanBook.me today!

Calendly

calendly homepage

Calendly stands as a widely utilized online scheduling tool, seamlessly integrating with Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, iCloud, and Zapier.

This platform enables the creation of tailored booking pages for various meeting types. Its array of features includes round-robin scheduling, group scheduling, buffer times, cancellation policies, and integrations with popular services like Zoom, Stripe, Salesforce, and more.

It’s best suited for professionals or teams seeking a flexible and robust scheduling solution. While Calendly offers a free plan, its paid packages begin at $10 per month per user, providing unlimited bookings and calendars.

Getting Started with Google Calendar

Google Calendar offers a powerful array of features, from seamless integration with other Google apps to its user-friendly interface. 

It’s a great fit if you’re looking for a basic (and free) solution to appointment scheduling. However, to fully unlock the benefits of the Appointment Schedule feature, I recommend upgrading to the paid plan.

FAQs

Do I need to pay for Google Calendar?

No, Google Calendar is free to use for individuals and businesses. However, there are premium features available in Google Workspace for enterprise-level users.

Is Google Calendar linked to Gmail?

Yes, Google Calendar is seamlessly integrated with Gmail. You can create calendar events directly from Gmail and receive event reminders in your email.

Is Google Calendar mobile-friendly?

Yes, Google Calendar is highly mobile-friendly. It has dedicated apps for both Android and iOS devices, offering a smooth and responsive user experience on smartphones and tablets.

Related reading:

Google Calendar

Learn how Google Calendar helps you stay on top of your plans - at home, at work and everywhere in between.

Product Brand: Google

Editor's Rating:
4

Beatrice is a seasoned productivity writer with a knack for uncovering game-changing productivity hacks that simplify life routines. Armed with a triple major in Commerce, Accounting, and Insurance, she also runs her own digital consulting firm. You'll usually find her immersed in crafting captivating literary novels and traveling the world.